China’s Central bank has declared on Friday all financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies are illegal, sounding the death knell for the digital trade in China after a crackdown on the volatile digital currency.
The global values of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin have massively fluctuated over the past year partly due to Chinese regulations, which have sought to prevent speculation and money laundering.
“Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities,” the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in an online statement Friday, adding that offenders would be “investigated for criminal liability in accordance with the law.”
The notice bans all related financial activities involving cryptocurrencies, such as trading crypto, selling tokens, transactions involving virtual currency derivatives and “illegal fundraising”.
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Bitcoin, which had already been falling before the announcement, sank by as much as 8.9 percent to $41,019 in European afternoon trading before recovering slightly later in the day. The central bank said that in recent years trading of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies had become “widespread, disrupting economic and financial order, giving rise to money laundering, illegal fund-raising, fraud, pyramid schemes, and other illegal and criminal activities.”
This was “seriously endangering the safety of people’s assets,” the PBOC said.
While crypto creation and trading have been illegal in China since 2019, further crackdowns this year by Beijing warned banks to halt related transactions and closed much of the country’s vast network of bitcoin miners.
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Friday’s statement by the central bank sent the strongest yet signal that China is closed to crypto.
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